Non-Redundancy: Towards a Semantic Reinterpretation of Binding Theory

Research paper by Philippe Schlenker

Indexed on: 01 Apr '05Published on: 01 Apr '05Published in: Natural Language Semantics


In Generative Grammar, Binding Theory has traditionally been considered a part of syntax, in the sense that some derivations that would otherwise be interpretable are ruled out by purely formal principles. Thus Heilikes himiwould in standard semantic theories yield a perfectly acceptable interpretation; it is only because of Condition B that the sentence is deviant on its coreferential reading. We explore an alternative in which some binding-theoretic principles (esp. Condition C, Condition B, Condition A, a modified version of the Locality of Variable Binding argued for by A. Kehler and D. Fox, and Weak and Strong Crossover) follow from the interpretive procedure – albeit a somewhat nonstandard one. In a nutshell, these principles are taken to reflect the way in which sequences of evaluation are constructed in the course of the interpretation of a sentence. The bulk of the work is done by a principle of Non-Redundancy, which prevents any given object from appearing twice in any sequence of evaluation. An account of split antecedents and non-overlapping-reference effects is included in the analysis, and a detailed implementation of a large part of the theory is given in an Appendix.